Man bit woman and her dad in ‘road rage’ row over disabled parking spot

A former soldier who bit a woman and her dad as well as punching her 15-year-old brother in a ‘road rage’ row over a disabled parking spot at Antrim Bus & Rail Centre has been sentenced to ten months in jail.

Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 4:48 pm

Geoffrey Carleton (55), of Rockfield Heights in Connor near Ballymena, admitted assaults but had bail fixed for appeal against the sentence at Antrim Magistrtes Court, sitting in Ballymena, on Tuesday.

A prosecutor said at 6pm on February 26 last year police were called to a report of a “dispute” at the train station regarding a “parking space”.

Carleton made the call saying a female was parked in a “disabled bay” but “was not displaying a badge”.

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The PSNI then received reports of a “male assaulting people in the car park as the situation had escalated”.

Police saw people in a group had injuries and a male - Carleton - “pacing back and forth” on the other side of the car park was also injured with a cut to his head which was bleeding.

The prosecutor said the group pointed out the defendant and said he had been the “aggressor” and had assaulted several people. Carleton also claimed he had been assaulted.

A 22-year-old woman had a bite mark to her hand; her dad (47) had a bite mark to his leg whilst her brother (15) had been punched.

The woman said she was parking in a disabled bay using her “father’s blue badge”.

The prosecutor said Carleton had “taken umbrage and felt he was deserving of this space, and she was not, so he had parked behind her vehicle, blocking her in”. Carleton got out of his vehicle and began taking down registration plates.

The court heard the woman’s family arrived and after “words were exchanged a melee ensued”.

A taxi driver said Carleton was the “aggressor”.

The prosecutor said the woman said the defendant swung open the door of his vehicle, punching her teenage brother in the face, causing his glasses to fly off.

Her father tried to restrain the defendant and when the woman tried to help she was grabbed by Carleton, pushing her into the driver’s footwell of his car and punching her on the head and body “ten times”. She put her hands up to protect her head and was bitten on her fingers and had the hood of her coat ripped off. The woman then saw Carleton on top of her father on the ground and the defendant bit him on the leg.

The court heard her father received a tetanus injection and the woman’s finger was broken.

Defence barrister Neil Moore said Carleton had gone to the station to collect his partner. The defence lawyer said the defendant had a blue badge and said it appeared the woman was using her father’s blue badge “to allow her to park in a disabled spot for the entire day and that was a matter that Mr Carleton took issue with”. Mr Moore said a psychiatric report illustrated the defendant had been diagnosed with “explosive personality disorder”. He said the defendant had over-reacted and after he was “forced to the ground” he was “bleeding heavily”.

District Judge Nigel Broderick said it was “no wonder the victims fought back when they are being punched and bitten by the defendant”.

Mr Moore said Carleton had bitten the woman, whilst, during the melee, she “placed her hand in his mouth”. The lawyer said the defendant bit the woman’s dad and Carleton told police: “If somebody is attacking you and you bite them, you mark them, you know who it is”.

Judge Broderick said that was “quite sadistic”.

Mr Moore said the defendant had many years of “military service” in the UDR and Royal Irish Regiment during the Troubles but a psychiatrist had ruled out post-traumatic stress disorder.

Jailing him for ten months the judge told Carleton in court: “I can’t think of a worse case of an assault I have dealt with in the last few years. This was unjustified, unprovoked.”